Lush yards require due diligence
By Ed Pfeifer
Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
After a long and frosty winter, the spring is finally here.
On display now are some sweet and precious sights like greening grass and budding trees.
But, while these iconic and attractive rites of spring are titillating our senses, a much less pleasing botanical activity is taking place. For it is now that the dreaded dandelion develops and begins its predictable assault on our lawns.
The dandelion is the most successful and easily recognizable broadleaf weed in our region. It flourishes in the damp soil and warm sun of spring. Long the bane of the lawn enthusiast, the dandelion is often targeted for elimination but seldom is that elimination achieved.
Most of us choose synthetic herbicide/fertilizer combinations to do the deed. They are easily applied with a walk-behind spreader and they can be quite effective. But, proper application and proper follow-up is the key. As with all chemicals, product specifics should be reviewed before employment. However, listed below are some simple tips to help you get past the most common reasons for failure.
First and foremost is correct timing. As a general rule, broad-leaf killing synthetic herbicides should be applied to the lawn when the dandelion's leaves are fully developed and the plant is actively growing. This means that getting them early is not advisable. Most successful applications are done in mid to late May.
Also critical is the condition of the lawn. Most products have recommendations that include the following: the grass should be cut 2 days prior to application and it must be damp with dew or a light sprinkling of water.
The lawn should not receive rain, nor should it be cut for at least 24 hours following application.
The herbicide works well and because of the fertilizing component in these products, lawns will commonly turn a deep green and grow aggressively.
That is great but in most cases it's not enough to deliver a knockout punch to the dandelions. For this I suggest a program of true soil enhancement.
Have your soil's pH tested and get it healthy with proper liming and organic fortifications. By doing this you will provide a great environment for the roots of your grass. The roots then can access vital nutrients and the lawn will strengthen itself.
So if you have had it with the crop of yellow flowers that appears in your yard every spring and want to effectively use your lawn products, your time and your money, start this season. But please don't rush it, don't invent your own application instructions and don't forget that healthy soil is the key to a healthy lawn. Perhaps next year when spring blesses us with its warm smile, and colorful blossoms, the protruding head of a dandelion won't sour your experience.
Ed Pfeifer is the owner of Pfeifer Hardware Inc., 300 Marshall Way, Mars. If you have any questions, call the store at 724-625-9090.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Briefs: Cranberry Lego workshop hopes to spark kids’ interest in engineering
- Evans City historian to discuss local portion of George Washington’s journey